By Brendan O’Callaghan, Director, Public Affairs, Sarah Lawrence College
Sep. 4, 2019: On August 31 Sarah Lawrence College opened the newly completed Barbara Walters Campus Center.
Opening Day and orientation weekend for new students and their families was held in the new state-of-the-art 35,000 square foot Campus Center, which will now serve as the College’s epicenter for student activities.
Donor-funded and completed on time and on budget, the Barbara Walters Campus Center was brought to life through the generosity of alumna Walters and the altruism of the Sarah Lawrence community. Catalyzed by Ms. Walters’ $15 million gift, the largest single gift in school history, the $35 million project introduces the first new building on campus in 15 years and is a pillar of the $200 million Campaign for Sarah Lawrence. In addition to the building’s construction, the project covered design, landscaping, equipment, and the repurposing of previously built infrastructure.
Showcasing the College’s commitment to sustainability and community, the Campus Center connects the deep history of the small liberal arts college and, through its modern design and facilities, propels the campus and community into the future.
“The Barbara Walters Campus Center, through its thoughtful design and flexibility, will fundamentally change how people engage with our campus for generations to come. A place to intellectually connect and create, and physically connecting north and south on the campus and to the neighbors on the east and west, the Center will serve as a cultural hub and new front door for students, faculty, staff, and the broader community,” said Sarah Lawrence President Cristle Collins Judd. “I am delighted to welcome new and returning students back to campus and into the completed Campus Center.”
More than 75 events are already planned in the new building for the fall semester, from orientation weekend for new students to the Yonkers Partners in Education gala. Open mic and trivia nights, dance parties, and winter and spring formals will be fixtures of student life in the new space – the community will formally celebrate the opening of the new building during Family Weekend in October. In addition, the Center will serve as one of two main dining areas on campus, providing meals to the 2,000+ person community from 7:30 a.m. - 1:00 a.m. every day.
The geographic center of campus, the building will also serve as a cultural and intellectual hub and provide opportunityfor engagement with the surrounding community. The new venue will support the College’s longtime role as a thought-convener and thought-leader, with new small and large spaces for bringing people together both informally and formally. Historical materials spotlighting Ms. Walters’s time at Sarah Lawrence and pioneering career in journalism will be on display in the Center, including her Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Fully accessible, the Barbara Walters Campus Center stands at the corner of Kimball Avenue and Glen Washington Road in Lawrence Park. The building’s green roof flows seamlessly into new landscaping at Andrews Circle, and the atrium will act as a new campus main street. Among the many sustainable features are the white oak table tops that were locally milled using trees that previously occupied the building site. The project broke ground on January 18, 2018, and was completed August, 2019.
Pictured: Barbara Walters Campus Center
Photo courtesy Sarah Lawrence College
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